Last December, the Philadelphia Eagles visited the Chicago Bears for a late-season clash at Soldier Field. During the game — an eventual 25-20 win for the Eagles — Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts was driven into the grass and suffered a sprain in his throwing shoulder. The injury cost him the Eagles’ next two games — both losses — but Hurts returned in time for the playoffs, where he led the Birds to Super Bowl LVII.
However, Hurts never had a procedure done on his throwing shoulder, and he played through the postseason — and into the 2023 regular season — with the sprained joint impacting him. This is according to a new interview with Donovan McNabb, the former Eagles quarterback who maintains a close relationship with Hurts now that he is the franchise quarterback in Philly.
McNabb shines light on Hurts’ mentality
Hurts, who previously stated he suffered a broken clavicle during that cold winter day in Chicago, was only operating at around “65 or 70 percent” during the high-intensity postseason, according to McNabb. The injury certainly seemed to affect Hurts during the NFC playoffs, when he threw for less yardage and relied on the Eagles‘ suffocating defense to overcome New York and San Francisco.
McNabb said he would have had to call Hurts “soft” if he was thinking about sitting out due to the injury, and McNabb said Hurts told him that “sometimes, you have to do the job yourself.”
The Eagles demolished the Giants and 49ers by a combined 69-14 score, and Hurts showed no ill effects from the joint sprain against Kansas City in the Super Bowl. He threw for 304 yards and totaled four touchdowns (three rushing) against the Chiefs, and he would have been named Super Bowl MVP had Philadelphia held onto its second-half lead.
Is the shoulder still bothering Hurts?
While McNabb‘s comments were limited to the 2022 postseason, some may argue Hurts is still fighting limitations brought about by the joint sprain as the 2023 NFL season gets underway.
Hurts, who signed a $255 million contract extension in the offseason, has completed 40-of-56 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns. The season is still young, but Hurts is on pace to throw for just 3,086 yards this season, and he’s already been sacked seven times — 11 percent of his dropbacks thus far in 2023.
However, Hurts reared back and delivered a vintage performance in the Week 2 win over the Minnesota Vikings, when he accounted for three total touchdowns and delivered a 60-yard strike to DeVonta Smith for his only passing touchdown of the night.
The Eagles don’t seem fully in-sync yet following February’s loss in the Super Bowl, but they are 2-0 and figure to challenge for the top seed in the NFC anyway — even if Hurts is still at 70 percent.